3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
East is best,
This review is from: East Side Story (Audio CD)
'East Side Story' was a surprise success. Considered by some in 1981 as the best album of that year, albeit against less competition than usual, it ranks as the band's best album. Their moment appeared to have passed, their commercial peak having been 'Cool For Cats.' There had also been two personnel changes, but the important Difford/Tilbrook writing partnership was still intact. Squeeze had fitted neatly into the new wave atmosphere with their Beatle-influenced pop and streetwise Cockney Carry On lyrics. They were able to adapt because of a fashion for retro 1960s pop with a touch of soul, but mostly because they always had good quality songs.
On 'East Side Story' they retained their humorous and melodic elements, while widening the scope of their approach and putting more groove into their music. The revered 'Tempted,' for instance, is a more mature song, not instantly commercial, but one which crawls under your skin with its soulful plod and nerve-probing lyric. 'In Quintessence' sets off like Booker T & The MGs while 'Mess Around' ventures into rockabilly, another revived form of that era. Oddly, the first single and most instant, 'Is That Love,' failed to take the charts by the scruff, but the country ballad, 'Labelled With Love,' did. Elsewhere, the band experiment a little with songs like 'Heaven' and 'There's No Tomorrow,' with an approach reminiscent of XTC. Otherwise, the album is full of bright hooks, especially on 'Piccadilly' and 'Woman's World.' Even the bonuses are worthwhile, ending with the rousing 'Looking For A Love.' This is first class British pop.